About the 31 Flavors

When I was young I hated being scared. I lived on the uppermost floor of a creaky house in Western Pennsylvania. I had serious night terrors for most of my childhood – it took nightlights, an open door and a light in the hallway to get me to sleep. I ended up sharing a room with my younger brother (interloper), which alleviated the problem significantly but I was still afraid of the dark into my early teens.

Now that I’m (mostly) convinced there are no monsters under my bed, I’ve come to realize that being truly, truly frightened is a thing of beauty. A movie that can really scare you is like a sublime drama that can make you cry or a piece of music that sends chills up your spine. These experiences tap into a visceral response, something animal and instinctive that not many things can elicit. Scary movies can sometimes have that power.

October is my favorite month. No, let me rephrase: October is the best month. Football is in full swing (here we go Steelers!), baseball is finally interesting, the weather has at last become pleasant, the leaves change color, tons of days off work are just around the corner and, best of all, there’s Halloween.

Halloween is the greatest. Not only did it survive the Christianizing of pagan holidays that gave us Christmas and Easter but among its peers it remains unique: a purgative holiday devoted to the darkest aspects of human nature. Most holidays are about selflessness and kindness and all those good human virtues, but Halloween is about the part of us that’s reckless, scary, mean and nasty. It’s that one outlet for our baser instincts. Also the only time a patent leather corset and spike heels equate to a nurse’s uniform…or a cat, or a bunny, or Richard Nixon.

And so it is that I, for all of one year in a row, have marked the occasion in the best way I know how. Because I love scary movies it seemed fitting to honor October and it’s crown jewel, All Hallow’s Eve, with a movie marathon of 31 Halloween-appropriate titles, one for each day. Last year when I did this just for fun I called it my 31 Days of Halloween. Sadly I failed to notice I had subconsciously boosted that name from the Sci-Fi Channel Syfy, so a change was in order. With some advice from counsel (thank you, my love) I landed on a new name that I’m hoping Baskin Robbins will sue me over: 31 Flavors of Terror.

The rules I’ve set for myself are these: During the hallowed month of October (see what I did there?), I will watch 31 scary movies I’ve never seen before, posting about one each day. I use the term “scary” loosely because some of them won’t be scary at all. But all the movies I choose will have the ability to enhance your enjoyment of this most excellent season, even if some of them do so mostly by being so laughably awful.

I know what you’re thinking: this is insanity. No human has ever attempted such a thing ever before. What can I say, I’m a hero. I may not always watch a movie every day, but the posts will be as regular as my bowels now that I’m incorporating a good fiber bar in my diet. (Gnu Foods, in case you were curious.) My plan is to rate each movie in a few key categories; you can read more about that here. It’s not that ratings are terribly useful in judging a film but they sure are fun. Plus the rating system gave me a chance to beg my buddy Rob Campbell to put together some amazing art for the site. He was maybe a little too eager to draw wafer cones filled with internal organs but he gave me some great stuff. Rob is the shit. In addition to his graphic artistry he’s an excellent actor, singer, teacher and friend. Hit the road, toad.

Now by no means do I consider myself an expert on scary movies – I still confuse I Spit on Your Grave and I Drink Your Blood – or movies in general, or scary things in general, or blogging, writing, crochet or anything really. I’m just a fan and I’m looking to impose my fandom on the world. And by world I mean my mom and the three or four other people who feel obligated to support my endeavors. And you, whoever you may be.

In this undertaking I’m arming myself with nothing but the finest in specialized equipment:

A 6-at-a-time Netflix subscription, complete with dozens of Watch Instantly titles ranging from big budget sci-fi to obscure cult classics to made-for-cable monster movies that are so bad they should never be watched by anyone not related to the cast.

The Internet Movie Database, repository of at least 60% of my movie knowledge. If the internet ever shuts down, I will immediately become a troglodyte and start eating my own feces.

Tickets for a select few theatrical releases coming out this month. I’d see more in the theater if I could but I’m poor and kind of a homebody, as any good scary movie fan should be.

And finally, my special cup. A mystical goblet forged in the sulfurous fires of whatever third world factory supplies the dollar store from whence my lady fair procured it. Without this precious artifact, all my efforts would be for naught. One plastic cup to rule them all.

Enjoy!

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